Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce President Nathan Sondgeroth sees Clinton as full of potential.
The 33-year-old Mendota, Ill., native has been in his current position for three months, but has more than seven years experience in economic development.
“I really, really like businesses and business owners. The people who can go out there, plant their flag and say, ‘Look, I’ve got a good or I’ve got a service and I’m selling it in the marketplace.’ I really enjoy working with those individuals and helping their businesses grow,” he said.
Sondgeroth has a degree from Augustana College in economics and geography, as well as a minor in East Asia studies. Once he graduated from Augustana in 2001, he ventured to law school at the University of Iowa.
Sondgeroth said although he didn’t always know what he wanted to do, he took to municipal government and urban planning early in his college career.
“The law is the language of government. Going to law school made a lot of sense given my interests.”
Sondgeroth graduated from law school in 2004. During his time in law school he had a clerkship at a Davenport law firm. When he graduated and after he passed the Illinois and Iowa Bar Exams, his title at the first changed to associate attorney.
At the time, Sondgeroth was volunteering for the Chamber of Commerce. He found himself enthralled in the work he did outside of work.
“Here I was a practicing attorney and I found myself really throwing my passions, my heart, my time and energy into my volunteer activities. That says something.”
In 2007 he went to Davenport One, the Chamber of Commerce, which eventually became the Quad-City Chamber.
“It’s that ability to engage with entrepreneurs that is what I like about chamber of commerce work,” Sondgeroth said.
Sondgeroth became an economic development coordinator for the city of Davenport in 2010. He worked there until taking his current position in May of this year.
Sondgeroth now lives in Clinton with his wife, Jennifer, and their two young children. The transition from living in the Quad-Cities to Clinton has not been jarring, he said.
“We’ve not experienced a real detriment in what we can buy and do,” he said. “The people I’ve met are really quite nice. We enjoy the riverfront and some of the scenic views. Not only on the east side with the riverfront and Eagle Point, but Mill Creek Parkway, as well.”
When he’s not busy getting to know the area, Sondgeroth enjoys spending time with his family.
“I have a young family so I do the stuff young families do. I ride bikes, go to sports games,” Sondgeroth said.
In his current role, Sondgeroth hopes to make the transition smoother for other families moving to the area.
“It’s not just the employee you have to bond to the community, but the family as well,” he said. “You want a place where your whole family can flourish.”
He plans to continue talking to as many businesses as he can and act as a sounding board for members in order to improve the Clinton area.
“From an outsider’s perspective, Clinton doesn’t face any problems that are that different than 1,000 other places. Clinton has so much potential.”